I found this in a journal from eighth grade. Enjoy.
“I am my own worst enemy when it comes to writing. I get excited about a story idea, and I write for a while and then stop. Sometimes I just get tired of [the story], but most of the time I compare my work to the books I’ve read, and I think mine isn’t good enough. Plot line not complex enough, rambles on too much, not believable. I’ve said ‘em all. I know that professional writers are older and more experienced than me, but I still can’t help comparing myself to them. And I hate it that I don’t finish what I start. I know I can’t just keep putting unfinished stories on the shelf, but what can I do about it?”
I love this because it’s so honest, and because sometimes I still feel this way. I’ve stumbled upon some great opportunities, but I know how much room for improvement there is in my writing. Most of the time, I’m like a toddler clunking around in her mommy’s high heels, playing dress-up and trying to be a big girl. I have a lot that I need to grow into.
The obvious response to my eighth grade question is to keep writing. Even though I still feel frustrated with my ability level as a writer at times, I can definitely see improvement from my middle school days. Which means that, in ten years, I’ll see a lot of improvement from where I am now.
But there’s another response too: embrace the good things about being a young, immature writer. Here are a few that come to mind.
- Innovation. There aren’t as many ruts to fall into when you haven’t done much at all, which makes it easier to try something new.
- Ability to gracefully admit you’re wrong. Obviously, this still takes humility and is very difficult, but it’s a lot easier when you’re not as set in your ways.
- Passion. This isn’t something you have to lose as you get older and more experienced, but I see a joy in younger writers more often than their elders, a simple love of words and stories, the basics of the craft.
- Time. I’m guessing that, as a college student without a commute or job or family (and with long holiday breaks and access to ready-made meals) I have more free time than the average post-college adult, even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it.
- Availability of mentors. When you know hardly anything, you can learn from almost anyone.
So that’s why I’m proud to be a naïve, immature writer. As long as I don’t act like I know everything (something that I’m guessing is kind of funny to more experienced writer), I think I’ll keep improving. Hopefully, I’ll never stop.